Students at Leongatha Secondary College were given the opportunity to work with Jayde and Lachy, from Project Rockit, who spent two days working with us for a number of sessions for all students across the College about bullying, both online and offline. The year groups participated in different activities to really focus on what was important and highlight the effects of bullying relevant to their age. One activity that generated a lot of excitement from the students was a team game consisting of two rounds- for the first, students were able to talk about an image and the second where they could only use their body language (and the audience could help). Being able to use words was a lot easier and there were plenty of suggestions from the audience on how to use the body to describe the image of a train, however the image of a letter in an envelope had everyone stumped! It was a good way to show how when we communicate we use both words and body language to convey meaning. Some tips to help navigate the online world, shared by Jayde and Lachy, included using the blocking function when you need a break from certain content or people, reporting when things don’t seem right (young people’s reports go straight to the top of the pile!), turning off comments to keep things manageable, restricting the audience so only certain people can see your posts and muting to stop their posts from appearing in your feed. Further advice around privacy, gaining consent when sharing images, collecting evidence when things go too far, being comfortable to stand up and call out when what people are doing are not okay were also discussed.
Students listened to stories of young people who have experienced or witnessed bullying and the various ways they were able to deal with it or help others to manage these situations. A strong message to students was that they are not alone in navigating these things, especially in the online space when they may feel isolated, and that there are people who can support you. Jayde and Lachy pointed out that many of the young people from their stories had then gone on to be successful after high school. They suggested focusing less on listening to negative things that others may say, especially online where anonymity abounds, and instead to embrace what makes you happy and find safe and supportive places for you to indulge your passions. Thanks to Lachy and Jayde from Project Rockit for coming to our school, giving us advice and adding some fun to our school day. And remember, what goes on the internet, stays on the internet!Written by Emmett Taylor and Ebony Brown